Your graduate program research. 3 minutes. Big prizes. That's what the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is all about. 3MT originated at The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, as an academic research communication competition and has spread to campuses around the world. Since 2015, Georgia Tech’s competition has helped graduate students hone their communication skills by challenging them to share their research in three minutes in a way anyone could understand.
And you never know when your 3MT experience will come in handy. Watch Alexis Noel (who tied for third place in the Ph.D. category of the 2017 competition) discuss her research on the national news program, CBS Sunday Morning.
Who is eligible?
Doctoral students who are currently enrolled at Tech and are actively engaged in dissertation research are eligible. Graduates of Tech and previous winners of the 3MT competition are not eligible to participate. A competitive candidate should have a well-conceived dissertation project, compelling data collected, and a novel story to share.
Master's students must be actively engaged in thesis research. Nonthesis master's students are not eligible. Graduates of Tech and previous winners of the 3MT competition are not eligible to participate. A competitive candidate should have a well-conceived thesis project, compelling data collected, and a novel story to share.
What are the prizes?
For Ph.D. students:
- Winner: $2,000 research travel grant
- Runner-up: $1,500 research travel grant
- Third Place: $1,000 research travel grant
For master’s students:
- Winner: $1,000 research travel grant
- Runner-up: $750 research travel grant
- Third Place: $500 research travel grant
One People's Choice winner will be selected from all participants (master’s and Ph.D.) and will receive a $500 research travel grant. (Voting for the People's Choice will take place live at the finals.)
NEW FOR THE 2021 COMPETITION: Any student who registers and submits a video entry will be entered into one of six drawings for a $50 Amazon gift card (based on the student’s college).
What are the rules?
This year's competition will be held in a virtual format. The 3MT talks will be presented via a pre-recorded video submission.
- Presentations are limited to three minutes, and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
- Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
- Videos must meet the following criteria:
- Filmed on the horizontal.
- Filmed on a plain background.
- Filmed from a static position.
- Filmed from one camera angle.
- A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations, or movement of any description).
- The three-minute audio must be continuous with no sound edits or breaks.
- No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
- Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs).
- No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
- The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
Please note: Competitors *will not* be judged on video/recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a nonspecialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide. After each competition round, competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or rerecord and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.
What are the judging criteria?
Presentations will be judged based on the following:
Engagement and Communication
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience's attention?
- Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact, and vocal range; maintain a steady pace; and have a confident stance?
- Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation? Was it clear, legible, and concise?
Comprehension and Content
- Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
- Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
- Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
- Were the thesis topic, key results and research significance, and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience?
- Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
- Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of the presentation — or did he/she elaborate for too long on one aspect, or was the presentation rushed?